U.S. Increases Military Aid to the Philippines

The Bush administration is using its "war against terrorism" as a pretext to increase military aid to the Philippines.

On November 20, the President of the Philippines, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, met with President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to discuss further "counterinsurgency" assistance.

The Pentagon has acknowledged that U.S. soldiers already are serving as advisers to the Philippine military in its counterterrorism efforts. Arroyo stated that the structure of U.S. military assistance was working well: "We have advisers from the U.S....We have equipment from the U.S. All of these are part of our mutual defense treaty... I think the pattern is going very well as it is.... What we're going to talk about is how we can make our partnership against terrorism, both terrorism in the world and terrorism in southern Philippines, more useful, more efficient."

The Filipino President was informed by the Bush Administration that the United States will give her government $92.3 million in military equipment. The new equipment includes a C-130 military transport plan, a naval patrol boat, Huey helicopters and 30,000 M-16 rifles plus ammunition. Also, President Bush has labeled the "New Peoples Army," the largest insurgency group in the Philippines, a "terrorist organization."

In addition, the U.S. is pushing for a new treaty to establish permanent U.S. military bases in the Philippines. The "Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA)" allows the US military to get "logistics support, supplies and services" from the Philippines.

On Monday, Nov. 19, 2001, the Filipino people protested against the MLSA, as well as the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

The Bush administration is determined to wage its "war on terrorism" against the people of the Philippines. "The front against terror is not just in Afghanistan," Bush said, speaking to reporters in a joint appearance with Arroyo before their Oval Office meeting. "We're going to fight terror wherever it exists." Asked whether he was willing to commit U.S. combat troops to a fighting role in the Philippines, Bush said: "We will work with our allies and friends to use whatever resources we have to win the war against terror." He added: "President Arroyo understands now is the time to make a stand against terrorist activity, whether it be in Afghanistan or in the Philippines..."

The so-called "war on terrorism" in the Philippines is designed to hide the aims of U.S. imperialism in Asia, to dominate and exploit the markets and resources of the people in the Philippines and Asia. It is also designed to crush the struggle that the Filipino people are waging against U.S. imperialism.